In a surprising move, more than 20,000 union workers for AT&T in the Southeast are on strike from midnight Friday, officials said.
Members of communications workers in America – including 4,000 in Georgia – charged the huge telecommunications company with unfair labor practices during negotiations aimed at securing a new contract.
The previous agreement expired on August 3.
Since then, the talks have gone nothing because the company has made sure an agreement can't happen, said Richard Honeycutt, the union's vice president for the Southeast in a statement issued late Friday. "Our talks have stopped because it has become clear that AT&T has not sent dealers who have the power to make decisions, so we can move on to a new contract."
The company, based in Dallas, has an annual revenue of about $ 1
Company officials said they were blindsided and mystified by the strike call.
"We are confused as to why union management will call one when we offer terms that will help our employees – some of them on average from $ 121,000 to $ 134,000 in total compensation – be even better off," said the AT&T spokesman. T, Jim Kiimberly.
Business officials were adamant about being prepared for a walk-out. In the days before the contract expired, AT&T officials said they would be prepared for a strike and that business operations would go smoothly with executives, executives and contractors picking up the slack.
"We are prepared for a strike, and in the event of a work stoppage, we will continue to work hard to serve our customers," Kimberly said Friday night
Union leaders ventured to the show, arguing that the company must prioritize work which delays new installations and non-emergency maintenance.
The Southeast Region of the Federation includes technicians, customer service representatives and others who "install, maintain, and support" the company's landline and Internet line services. The region includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Union officials have said that the most important issues are job security and health services.
Workers could have stayed at work without a contract, although negotiators failed to reach an agreement. More than 30,000 Verizon workers last summer ratified a contract after working for a year without one.
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